These days, it is very easy for publishers to monetize any website, YouTube channel or other platform that they have created. The simplest option is to use an ad network such as Google AdSense or another PPC platform. This way, ads will be ‘served’ based on various calculations and the publisher will then earn varying amounts depending on the number of clicks and views.
But there are more factors to consider here and there are ways that this can go wrong for advertisers and for publishers alike. One important consideration is the visibility of your ads. Ad Visibility describes whether or not an ad from an ad network is actually viewable on the page. Right now, publishers are paid by advertising networks based on how many times the adverts are clicked and how many times the adverts are ‘served’ (meaning they appear on the site).
But if the ad is loaded at the bottom of the screen, then it may never be seen. The advertiser still pays – because the network doesn’t know that it wasn’t seen – but they gain no traffic or brand visibility in exchange. 56% of ad impressions go unviewed, but fortunately for advertisers CPM (cost per impression) is low with most networks. This is why CPC (cost per click) will always be more important.
This is bad news for the industry as a whole and it is the responsibility of the publisher to ensure that ad visibility is good by keeping the ads above the fold and in viewable positions such as the top right of the site. At the same time though, they also need to avoid upsetting Google by having too many visible ads, which can harm SEO. But before you work to make your ads more visible, first consider if ads are the right option for you anyway:
Could Ads be Damaging Your Site?
Adding adverts to a website is often a useful part of an online business model. If you're a blogger or a webmaster hoping to make a living from running a website, then it is one of the best ways to monetize a site that requires relatively little work on your part.
On the other hand, if you're running a business and using a website merely to create an online presence, then advertising your own products is a great way to increase your orders and to turn your website into an even more powerful tool. Advertising the products of others meanwhile can provide a secondary source of income to help you finance your other business strategies.
But while there are a lot of good reasons to use adverts on your website, there are also a lot of good reasons not to. This is especially true if you are overly cavalier in your choice of ad placement, or if you are making mistakes with your overall strategy. Let's take a look then at whether your ad placement and choice may be hurting your site more than helping it, and at what you can do to remedy the situation.
Common Mistakes With Ad Placement
Detracting From Your Own Content and Products
What's crucial to remember when choosing your ad placements, is that any clicks on adverts not your own, will take visitors away from your site and away from your content. Even if the ads you're displaying aren't from direct competitors, that still means you are losing traffic and losing potential customers. Bear in mind that for a third party to pay for clicks, they must be making more profit than they are paying you to make that worthwhile.
Consider swapping those ads for links to your own products, or at least to affiliate products that will potentially give you a greater share of the profits. Most authorities on the matter agree that advertising is one of the least effective ways to monetize a website. Here's a bit more explanation.
This is perhaps the biggest danger with using ads on your site, as well as with using e-mail forms and other obtrusive elements. Here there is a fine line to be walked. A pop-up e-mail subscription form on the one hand might help you to capture more e-mails and more leads, but at the same time this could also risk increasing bounce rates.
What's particularly frustrating is when pop-up windows appear more than once, or are difficult to dismiss. This could be losing you a significant amount of traffic, so make sure that you test removing your pop-up windows at least and listen to any negative feedback you might be getting.
Crowding Your Content
A similar risk is that too many ads surrounding your content might also distract from your content and again lead to increased bounce rates – or at least just damage the look of your site and any work you've put into your design.